NLS Operations Alert


No. 20-46


DATE         :   July 20, 2020

TO             :   Network Libraries, Machine-Lending Agencies and Repair Groups

FROM        :   Shana Osborne, Equipment Control Officer

SUBJECT  :   Machine updates for reopening libraries



As libraries and machine-lending agencies (MLAs) across the nation begin resuming patron services that include issuing and repairing digital talking-book machines (DTBMs), NLS would like to provide guidance, updates, and tools to assist in the reopening process.


Please continue following your state and local health guidelines regarding quarantine periods and cleaning and/or disinfecting procedures for machines and materials received. As many facilities are reopening with limited staff in place, NLS urges you to place safety above speed. With this in mind, we are suspending the 3-day machine issuance policy, and instead we recommend patrons be served within a 7–10 day period if possible. This should ensure enough time to safely and effectively clean, program, and issue machines to patrons.


NLS has ordered new machine supplies such as batteries, DTBM individual boxes, and Styrofoam inserts to ensure libraries and MLAs reopening have the supplies and accessories required to limit interruption in service to patrons. The parts room team is back to work and shipping those backordered parts. Please be patient as they work through a 3-month backlog. NLS hopes to fulfill all back orders within the next month. If you have urgent need for a specific supply, please contact Kevin Watson, equipment repair officer, at [log in to unmask], so the parts department can attempt to prioritize the item.


To assist with parts orders, NLS requests your feedback on a 2–3 minute survey concerning your current inventory of select DTBM parts as well as your repair capacity. The form can be accessed at


Libraries and MLAs whose repair groups are closed may partner with alternative repair groups to assist with repairs and cleaning. Repair groups are still working at a reduced capacity to prioritize safety of volunteers. To coordinate assistance with an alternative repair group, please contact Kevin Watson.


Our sincerest thanks for the work of network libraries and MLAs as we all make necessary adjustments to ensure “that all may read.”


For more information, please contact:


Shana Osborne

Equipment Control Officer

[log in to unmask]


Kevin Watson

Equipment Repair Officer


[log in to unmask]